Starbucks Accused of Age Discrimination in Wrongful Termination Suit

A former store manager has filed suit against Starbucks Corporation, over alleged violations of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 and the Georgia Age Discrimination Act. The suit was filed Monday in the Northern District of Georgia and seeks class certification.

The plaintiff asserts that “over the last 5 or more years, Starbucks has engaged in a targeted, systematic scheme to eliminate and terminate as many of its older workers as possible and become younger in its staffed workforce.” The plaintiff explains that Starbucks has a history of discriminatory employment practices, both in regard to race and age. Earlier this year, they were forced to settle with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission over allegations of race discrimination.

The plaintiff, according to the complaint, was employed by Starbucks for about 5 years when he was terminated from his Store Manager position in July by his district manager, who was under 40 years old. This termination came as a surprise to the plaintiff as his last annual job review was “excellent” and he had never been formally written up or disciplined. Further, he said he was not given the opportunity to discuss the reasons for his termination or offered an alternative demotion at Starbucks, such as working as a barista.

The district manager allegedly accused the plaintiff of discrimination despite failing to conduct any sort of “real” investigation into that claim. He maintains that he was not “actually or knowingly discriminatory towards any employee,” and that the defendant used this as an excuse to legitimize their termination of him.

The plaintiff is bringing the action on behalf of himself and all other individuals over 40 who were terminated by Starbucks. The alleged biased recruiting and hiring and implementing of a mandatory early retirement policy has led the plaintiff to take legal action against his former employer.

The complaint includes an intentional discrimination violation under the Age Discrimination Employment Act of 1967 and age discrimination in violation of the Georgia Age Discrimination Act. The alleged misconduct has led the plaintiff to seek class certification and designation of himself as class representative, favorable declaratory judgement on each count, an injunction against Starbucks preventing them from engaging in further age discrimination and requiring them to eradicate the effects of their past and present misconduct, liquidated, exemplary, compensatory, and punitive damages, pre and post-judgement interest, and any other relief the Court deems proper.

The plaintiff is represented by Feldman Legal Group.